McLaren team members under active criminal investigation
Italian law enforcement authorities paid an unannounced visit to the McLaren pits on Saturday, as the team prepared for the Italian Grand Prix the following day. They informed McLaren team manager Ron Dennis that he was under investigation and also informed six other members of the McLaren team that they were being investigated. The investigation centers on Team McLaren’s possession of 780 pages of confidential documents stolen from Ferrari.
McLaren issued a statement, in which it said that "[t]he nature and timing of this was wholly unnecessary, just before the start of qualifying." But Dennis himself had no such complaints, saying that "[t]he gentlemen were extremely polite and discreet. We were not accused of anything. The meeting simply established which McLaren executives would need representation if called to attend any hearing in Italy. It was perhaps unfortunate that this meeting took place at the circuit but they were not in any way hostile.”
In a related development, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso has publicly denied that he provided information incriminating to McLaren to the FIA. A Spanish newspaper on Friday reported that Alonso had received emails from McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa that contained information from the stolen Ferrari documents and had provided that information to the FIA. The FIA has sent letters to all McLaren drivers requesting from them information indicating that McLaren requesting production of any information they may possess incriminating McLaren and warning them fairly bluntly that they would be barred from participating in Formula One should it be determined that they withheld such information. However, the press report indicated that Alonso had provided the email information prior to issuance of the FIA’s letter, perhaps because he is less than happy at McLaren.
Alonso, however, flatly denied the report, stating that “[it’s] a lie. If McLaren is punished, I will be too. I’m part of this team and the problem will be shared. We’re here to win the constructors and drivers’ championships and there is no one in the team who isn’t concentrating on this objective.”
McLarens driven by Alonso and teammate Lewis Hamilton finished first and second at Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.